HARRISBURG — A Roman Catholic high school in the Pittsburgh area will shed the name of Washington's archbishop, who was accused in a sweeping grand jury report of having allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children to be reassigned or reinstated while he was Pittsburgh's bishop.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh said Wednesday that Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl made the request to have his name removed from Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School and that school and diocese officials had accepted.
The sign out front of the Cranberry Township school was discovered vandalized on Monday, with red spray paint obscuring Wuerl's name.
The 77-year-old Wuerl has said he acted to protect children, promptly investigated allegations, and strengthened policies as understanding of child abuse evolved. He has said he will not resign.
In its statement, the Pittsburgh Diocese cited what it said was Wuerl's Aug. 16 letter: "I respectfully ask you to remove my name" from the school. "In this way, there should be no distraction from the great success of the school and, most importantly, the reason for the school — the students."
Wuerl was Pittsburgh's bishop from 1988 through 2006.
The grand jury report accused a succession of church leaders of covering up the abuse of more than 1,000 children or teenagers by some 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania since the 1940s.
The bulk of the cases cited in the report came before the early 2000s, the grand jury said, because most of the internal documents turned over by the dioceses concerned those cases.
On Monday, the University of Scranton, a Roman Catholic university, announced plans to remove the names of three bishops named in the report from campus buildings, saying it is acting in solidarity with victims of child sexual abuse.